Sifan Hassan May Try for Three Gold Medals in Track and Field
TOKYO – Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands could try to do something new at the Tokyo Games: win the women’s 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters. To do that, she would need to run multiple heats in multiple events, including five races in six days next week if she makes it through the heats.
She kicked off her bid for a triple gold medal on Friday night by winning her first round of the 5,000m and securing a berth in Monday night’s final.
She raised her hands in muted celebration as she crossed the finish line.
“I was celebrating my entry into the final,” said Hassan. “It’s a lot of pressure.”
When asked if she had decided to compete in all three Olympic Games – which has been widely speculated – she replied, “Not yet. I need to talk to my trainer.
Americans Elise Cranny and Karissa Schweizer also qualified for the final.
“It was tough ground there, and I was really pushed around,” said Schweizer, who was bleeding from his shins after being stimulated.
Hassan, 28, has become one of the most dynamic and versatile runners in the world since the 2016 Olympics, when she placed fifth in the 1,500 meters while failing to qualify for the 800 meters. She signaled her meteoric rise to the 2019 world championships by winning both the 1,500 and 10,000 meters. She broke the world mile record later that year.
In June, Hassan set another world record, this time in the 10,000 meters, only to be broken two days later by Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey. Gidey is one of the athletes who will challenge Hassan in Tokyo.
Hassan was coached by Alberto Salazar until 2019, when he was banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for breaking the rules governing banned substances. This week, Salazar was permanently banned from participating in athletics.
And in the last event of the competition’s opening day at the Olympic Stadium, Ethiopian Selemon Barega fended off a pair of Ugandan athletes Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo to win gold in the men’s 10,000 meters. Barega completed the final laps to beat Cheptegei, the world record holder in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, by 0.41 seconds.
Grant Fisher of the United States was fifth.
It was the first time anyone other than Mo Farah of Great Britain has won the 10,000 since 2008. Farah, who doubled as the 5,000 and 10,000-meter champion at the 2012 Olympics and 2016, failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
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